Sunday, 30 March 2014

Let’s talk of ocarinas and other things

The Fleiner family of Coburg: another story demonstrating the interconnectedness of things.

While I was researching the Coburg Art Festivals of the 1940s, I came across a reference to a James Fleiner who played an ocarina solo in the Coburg Branch of National Theatre Movement’s production of ‘Variety Steps Out’ in 1948.
Curious, I looked a little further and found that Jim Fleiner had a hairdresser’s shop at 579 Sydney Road, Coburg. He used to make films and show the films in his shop. He also ‘played the tin whistle for his young customers.’ (Broome, Coburg between two creeks, p.306)

Image of Jim Fleiner’s hairdresser’s shop in about 1938. 
Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society.

Arthur Whitbread and James Fleiner (on right) at corner of Waterfield and Bell St Coburg, 1923. 
Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society.

Jim’s brothers Fred and Leslie served in the 1st AIF.

5096 Private Frederick Thomas Fleiner, 14th Infantry Battalion.

Frederick (Freddie) Fleiner, a labourer, enlisted on 21 January 1916 aged 18. He had been born in Albury, NSW in 1895 but his parents Phillip and Mary moved to 12 Linda Street, Coburg where they lived from at least 1909 until the death of his father in 1916 while he and his brother were on active service. Frederick attended Moreland State School and his name is found in several Coburg typed lists of names connected with the Coburg Roll of Honour, although his name is not listed there. He died in 1982 at Heidelberg.

669 Private Leslie Fleiner, 31st Infantry Battalion.

Leslie Fleiner, a bookmaker’s clerk, enlisted  on 12 July 1915 aged 21 years 10 months. Like his younger brother Freddie, he had been born in Albury, NSW but was educated at Moreland State School while the family was living in Linda Street, Coburg.  On his return to Australia in June 1918 with a severe shell wound to his forearm, he lived with his widowed mother for a time at 115 Bell Street, Coburg.

And, as is the way in all research, the Fleiner family were connected with another World War One soldier from the area. Jim Fleiner, our ocarina playing hairdresser, married Louisa Johnston, sister of Donald (Don) William Johnston who served in A Company, 7th Battalion and left with the first contingent. Don was killed in action on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 8 May 1915.

Don was the son of Andrew Johnston of the Thistle Cyle Shop (and later the Coburg Motor Garage) at 288-290 Sydney Road, Coburg where he built his own ‘Thistle’ brand bicycles. A stalwart of the Coburg Cycling Club, Andrew Johnston ‘fostered cycling in Coburg, trained various elite cyclists and was president of the club for the 15 years to 1920,’ according to descendant Barb Wilcock. Donald was a member of the Coburg Cycling Club and would have participated in many of the cycling and social activities sponsored by the club.

Thistle Cycle Club Outing to Campbellfield, c.1903.
Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Coming to terms with loss

The wills available online have helped me to identify a soldier whose name appeared on the Town of Coburg Honour Board as W.A. Brown.
I now know that W.A. Brown was William Alder Brown, a 27 year old builder who lived in Hatter St., West Coburg. He’d been born in London but brought up in Hobart where he had served his apprenticeship. At the time of his enlistment his father William George Brown was the Council Clerk in Hamilton, Tasmania so William junior was already away from home when he enlisted.
683 Private William Alder Brown, 14th Battalion, enlisted at Brunswick on 1 December 1914. He only saw one day of action, the day he was killed, 2 May 1915. He was buried at No. 3 Courtney’s Post. In a terrible twist of fate, his younger brother Harold, who served as a Tasmanian, was killed on the same day, on his first day of action.
Not only did their parents lose their only sons on the same day, but they had to grapple with the fact that Harold’s body was never found.

In the following letters from their father found in their service records we can see how their parents struggled to come to terms with their loss. It shows the extra burden of placed on families whose mourning was done from a great distance with little likelihood of visiting the graves of their children, if there were graves to be visited. 

Friday, 21 March 2014

Providing for the future

Soldiers who left wills

I’ve come across wills in soldiers’ service records on a number of occasions but just recently I’ve been looking at wills made by Coburg men before they set off for the front. I was surprised at the quite large sums some of them left and then I noticed that the money often came from Life Insurance Policies they’d taken out with the Australian Mutual Provident Society or similar.
One man, Frederick Alexander Hamilton of 11 Shaftsbury Street, Coburg, left his mother Selina £800, much of it from two life policies with AMP.
25942 Driver Frederick Alexander Hamilton, 1st Divisonal Ammunition Column died on 1 February 1919 and is remembered at the Memorial Avenue of Trees, Lake Reserve, Coburg, tree number 50. He had survived the war only to die of pneumonia at the 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital in Bulford, Wiltshire.

Exterior view of the Administrative Headquarters of the 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital, taken c.April 1919. 
Image courtesy AWM. Image D00456.

Frederick Hamilton was buried a long way from home, but someone cared enough to place a sprig of wattle on his grave at Tidworth Cemetery in late January 1930 around the time of the anniversary of his death, surely some comfort to parents who were never likely to visit their son’s grave.

From Frederick Hamilton's official file.

Another man, 2321 Private Albert Ernest Warner, 22nd Infantry Battalion, a 37 year old woodworking machinist of Bell Street, Coburg, had bought a parcel of land in the Coburg Township Estate. He was also buying a piano on hire purchase. Perhaps he inherited a love of music from his mother, who in the 1881 English census is listed as a music teacher.  Albert Warner was born in Worksop, Nottinghamshire and married Emily Webster Dobinson in Liverpool in 1898. They emigrated to Australia at some time after the 1911 Census but his wife died soon after, in 1914. They had no children, but Albert was clearly planning a future in Coburg, a future that he was never to enjoy.

Studio portrait of 2321 Private (Pte) Albert Ernest Warner, 4th Reinforcements, 22nd Battalion, of Coburg, Vic. Taken c. October 1915.
Image courtesy AWM. Image DA11074.

Albert Warner was killed in action in France on 5 August 1916. In his will he left everything to Alice Elsie May Smith (later referred to as Alice Elsie May Scott). They were living at the same address (Bell Street, Coburg) when he embarked and in a letter to the authorities in 1939 she described herself as his fiancee.  After his death, she inherited his estate, went on to marry Oscar Boase and remained in the area, living in Gaffney Street, Pascoe Vale at the time of her 1939 letter.

By using the service records and wills together, a much more realistic picture of the soldier emerges, as can be seen in the case of Albert Warner. If you’ve never used the online resources available at the Public Record Office of Victoria, you really should check them out.  
Once you’re on the website, follow the ‘Access the Collection’ link.  From there you’ll see ‘PROV’s digitised records and online indexes’ and once there select ‘Wills and Probate Records’.  Wills are digitised up until the middle 1920s so you can read them online. I was searching for soldiers who died between 1914 and 1918 so I limited my search to those years, put ‘soldier’ as occupation and ‘Coburg’ as residence and went from there. I found 16 soldiers from Coburg and one from Pascoe Vale. There are many more from Brunswick.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The interconnectedness of things: the Catron brothers

I wrote in an earlier blog about the joy of discovery when one seemingly unconnected research project meets another and I find that there is a link between the two.

This is the case with the Catron brothers, whose father William, a teacher with the Victorian Education Department, was among a number of teachers who began their careers in the early 1880s and who became known as ‘Twilighters’. These teachers, who spent nearly sixty years in pursuit of justice in a superannuation claim (ending in 1920), were the subject of my Masters of Education thesis at Monash University in the late 1990s.

Now, nearly twenty years later, I have a new interest in the Catron family and much of the research I did way back then is useful again!

William Catron was a teacher at the Humffray Street State School in Ballarat East when his sons Joseph and William enlisted in the AIF. His was a teaching family. Two brothers and a sister were teachers, as were his sons at some stage of their lives.

2nd Lieutenant Joseph Edward Thomas Catron MC, 8th Infantry Battalion.
Image courtesy AWM. Image DA15101.

Joseph Catron was born in Kilmore in 1891. By the time he enlisted in the AIF he was a married man with two daughters and was living in Brunswick. He left with the first contingent in October 1914, was wounded on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 8 May 1915, evacuated to Malta, then England and returned to Australia. Once he’d recovered from his wounds, he re-enlisted and left for the front again in July 1916. Promoted to Captain, he was awarded the Military Cross in September 1917 and was discharged that December in order to take up a commission in the Indian Army. On his return to Australia he became a primary school teacher and was stationed at 1222 Skye (Lyndhurst South) from 1929 to 1936. At the time he enlisted in World War Two he was teaching at Newhaven Special School on Phillip Island. He rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

Joseph Catron (fourth from left), with wife Zoe, children and other family members. c 3 May 1916. Image courtesy AWM. Image DA15124.

1058 Sergeant William George James Catron, 8th Infantry Battalion.

William Catron was a married man living in Hudson Street, Coburg when he enlisted in the AIF. Born in 1886 while his father was teaching in Omeo, he began his working life in 1908 as a teacher, but resigned in 1912 to take up a position as a warder at Pentridge Prison. An early enlister, he embarked for the front in October 1914, rose through the ranks to become a Lieutenant, briefly served on the Gallipoli Peninsula and was invalided back to Australia in April 1916 following an operation for appendicitis. When he was well enough, he returned to the front where he was killed on 3 March 1917. By this time his wife Ivy and daughters Muriel and Unity had moved away from Coburg.

William Catron is remembered at the Memorial Avenue of Trees, Lake Reserve, Coburg. His was tree number 20. On the day of the planting ceremony in 1919, it was the second tree to be planted – by ‘Pompey’ Elliott’s wife.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

From Coburg to Los Angeles via the Western Front

4379 Private Robert Cail, 21st Infantry Battalion, 11th Reinforcements.
Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society.

Born in South Melbourne, Robert Cail was an old boy of Coburg State School, although at the time of his enlistment in February 1916 he was a 22 year old blacksmith living in Brunswick. His parents, George Henry Cail, a fireman and Frances (nee Douglas) lived firstly in Lynch’s Road, Fawkner (sometimes referred to as Coburg North) then in Colebrook Street, Brunswick and several other Brunswick addresses.

Robert was gassed twice while serving on the Western Front and returned to Australia with gas poisoning in November 1918, around the time of the Armistice.

Unusually, Robert Cail emigrated to America, calling firstly at Honolulu where a married sister lived and finally settling in Los Angeles. He didn’t marry, worked on oil tankers for a number of years and became a US citizen in 1930. He died in December 1949, a long way from his childhood home in the northern suburbs of Melbourne.

The mobility of the Cails was not unusual amongst working class families. Work meant survival, so you went where the work was. As I’ve been researching the Coburg soldiers and their families, this lesson has been brought home to me time and time again.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Dealing with bureaucracy

1414 Private Victor Clark, 15th Infantry Battalion, missing in action, 8 August 1915, Lone Pine

Victor Clark was born in Bendigo but educated at Coburg State School and later at the Working Men’s College (now RMIT). His father Peter, a labourer, and mother Elizabeth (nee Hawkins) lived in Sargood Street, Coburg.
When Victor enlisted in September 1914, he was working in Queensland as a sugar refiner. He landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, was wounded a week later but soon returned to duty. On 8 August 1915, he was killed in action at Lone Pine, one of the early Coburg casualties. He is remembered in the Coburg State School Soldiers Book and in the Memorial Avenue of Trees at Lake Reserve, Coburg, tree number 21.
Victor’s younger cousin, Roy Clark, a Methodist Home Missionary from South Australia, embarked just over a month after Victor’s death. He served briefly on the Gallipoli Peninsula then went on to serve in France. He was wounded at Mouquet Farm (referred to as Moo Cow Farm by many Aussie soldiers) in August 1916, but returned to the front where he served for another eighteen months before being killed at Villeurs Brettoneux in April 1918.
I’ve included this letter from Victor Clark’s father as a reminder of how difficult it must have been for those left behind, especially those with poor literacy skills who struggled with the official correspondence they received and as you see here, had trouble putting down on paper their concerns.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The Ashcroft brothers and their Coburg Arts Festival connection

One of the things I love about historical research is the interconnections between events and people that it provides. I guess this is to be expected when looking into the history of a suburb, but it’s always gratifying when I find that research I’ve done for one reason ties in with other research. I’m a great one for following up on a hunch, too, and although I don’t always find the connections I was hoping for, the research is always interesting!

For some time I’ve been researching Coburg’s Arts Festivals of the 1940s and one of the names I have in my ever-growing list of people who were involved is Jean Ashcroft. Jean was a member of the ballet in the Coburg Branch of the National Theatre Movement’s production of the musical comedy Hearts and Gowns in 1947.

Image courtesy Cheryl Griffin.

Some of the cast of Hearts and Gowns. Image from 1947 program.
Courtesy Coburg Historical Society.

I knew the name Ashcroft from my World War 1 research and wondered if she were related to the Ashcroft brothers.  I haven’t found a direct link yet, but it seems very likely that she is a member of this family.

Walter Boyes Ashcroft married Emma Marion Parker in Liverpool, England and their children were born there. The family arrived in Melbourne in 1914 and settled in the Melbourne suburb of Windsor, although during the war years Emma Ashcroft and her daughters moved to Coburg. Walter senior, who had been an invalid for a number of years, died soon after their arrival and the three boys, Walter, Edward and William, supported their mother and sisters.

The brothers joined the AIF and as was the case in many families, they all served with the same battalion, the 5th:
 5649 Private Edward Beken Ashcroft, 17th Reinforcements, 5th Battalion.
3451 Pte Walter Benjamin Ashcroft, 17th Reinforcements, 5th Battalion.
5648 Private William Henry Ashcroft, 17th Reinforcements, 5th Battalion.

5648 Private William Henry Ashcroft, 17th Reinforcements, 5th Battalion. 
Image courtesy AWM. Image P02605.002.

William was the first to die. He was killed in action in France on 20 December 1916. He is remembered at the Coburg Memorial Avenue of Trees, Lake Reserve, Coburg. His tree number was 130.

5649 Private Edward Beken Ashcroft, 17th Reinforcements, 5th Battalion.
Image courtesy AWM. Image P02605.001.

Edward died of wounds on 8 May 1917. He is remembered alongside his brother William at the Coburg Memorial Avenue of Trees, Lake Reserve, Coburg. His tree number was 129.

The Red Cross files reveal that Edward and Walter (the oldest brother) were in the same company (D Company) and the same platoon (14th) and that when Edward was reported wounded, his brother Walter went looking for him, found his brother and brought him back in, but was badly wounded as a result.

Walter Ashcroft suffered severe gun shot wounds to his feet, his buttocks and his right arm and was evacuated to the Southern General Hospital in Oxford where he had both legs amputated below the knee. After a period of treatment and rehabilitation, he returned to Australia in March 1918.

The blow to the boys’ mother, Emma Ashcroft, was severe, as can be seen in the following document in Walter’s file:

Despite his injuries, Walter Ashcroft went on to marry and raise a family. He lived in the Coburg area for the rest of his life and died in Pascoe Vale in 1966 at the age of 76. He married Eva Jean Templeton in 1919 and in the way of these things, this provides another link to a family of World War One soldiers from Coburg, because Eva’s brothers Hugh, Keith and William Templeton of Anketell Street, Coburg, all served in the war and a fourth brother Wallace enlisted but didn’t serve because the war ended before he could embark.

They were:
2692 Private Hugh John Templeton, 8th Infantry Battalion.
4212 Private Keith Richard Templeton, 24th Infantry Battalion (an old boy of Coburg State School)
2876 Private William Norman Templeton, 14th Infantry Battalion  (member of the football club; awarded the Military Medal and the Croix de Guerre).
Their brother Wallas Angus Templeton enlisted but as I mentioned he didn’t embark for overseas. He was an old boy of Coburg High School.

You might remember that I started this entry talking about Coburg’s Arts Festivals of the 1940s and the involvement of Jean Ashcroft. I’m guessing that Jean was the daughter of Walter Benjamin Ashcroft and Eva Jean Templeton, but cannot be certain.
I’d be very interested in hearing from anyone who can tell me more about the Ashcrofts, the Templetons or the Coburg Arts Festivals of the 1940s.
(Sources include soldiers’ war dossiers, AWM embarkation and Red Cross files, electoral rolls , indexes to births, deaths and marriages and the resources of the Coburg Historical Society.)

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The influenza epidemic in Coburg

No cause for a scare

(Dr R.A. Wallace, Coburg Health Officer, January 1919)

The Brunswick and Coburg Leader first mentioned the influenza epidemic on 24 January 1919 and it was the family of a yet-to-return soldier, 999 Gunner Henry Henry Grainge Biggs, 5th Field Artillery Brigade, who were the focus of the paper’s attention.

Henry Grainge Biggs. Image courtesy AWM.
Image DA10605.

Among the first ‘suspected cases’ of flu in Coburg were the Biggs family, farmers of ‘Juan Lea’, Elizabeth Street, Coburg. It may seem strange now to think of anyone carrying on a business as a farmer in what is now considered an inner city suburb, but of course this land was near the Merri Creek and there were many farms, especially dairy farms, in the area and especially in the area we now know as Newlands.

The first flu victim in the family was 15 year old Roy Biggs, an employee at Houghton’s Wool Store in Little Collins Street. The newspaper report tells us that he was ‘treated in the usual manner, being isolated, and the services of his sister, a trained nurse, obtained.’ Soon the parents, Henry Grainge Biggs and his wife Harriet became ill, as did their 21 year old son Alan and two others living in the house. In the end, their daughter, Ida, the nurse who had been caring for them, became ill too, with a temperature of 105 degrees. The doctor came and innoculated the family, but ‘not with very successful results.’

Nevertheless, when their soldier son Henry returned home in late September 1922, he found that all his family had survived the epidemic. His father Henry died in 1926 aged 63 and mother Harriet died in 1931 aged 59. They are buried in the Methodist section of Coburg Cemetery. Roy, the first to become ill, lived until 1979 when he died aged 75. Alan died in 1972 aged 73.  The nursing sister, Ida, became a well known identity in the Moreland area, establishing Vaucluse Hospital (now Brunswick Private Hospital) in Moreland Road and later married Dr Leslie Edmunds, who was elected Mayor of Coburg in 1958.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Coburg High School and the 1919 Spanish influenza epidemic

‘We have been caught up in the whirl of circumstances.’  

(Editorial, The Scribe, Vol. IV, No. 1, May 1919)

Coburg High School. 1916. Official opening of the school.

Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society.

I’ve heard stories about Coburg High School being used as a hospital during the flu epidemic of 1919 and am now in the process of trawling TROVE for newspaper articles that will tell me more.

The school building was closed at the start of the 1919 academic year and the students were relocated to their next-door neighbour, the Coburg State School Infant School , as can be seen from the following editorial by Head Master H.P. Bennett in The Scribe, Vol. IV, No. 1, May 1919. 

In the Argus, 24 January 1919, the Coburg Health Officer, Dr R.A. Wallace, noted a serious case of flu in a ‘young lady, whose father, a returned soldier, was in a military hospital suffering from similar symptoms.’ She was admitted to Melbourne Hospital, but no other details are given.

So serious was the situation that in one day, 28 January 1919, Dr Wallace had innoculated 150 Coburg people. (Argus, 29 January 1919)  By 5 February, the Argus was reporting that ‘a school’ (the Coburg Emergency Hospital was located at Coburg High School) had been converted into a hospital and had space for 25 patients.

It was not until early March that Coburg High returned to its work as an educational institution, the Head Master advertising that he would be at the Infant School on Monday 10 March 1919 in order to enrol pupils. (Argus, Saturday 8 March 1919) On that day, the Argus noted that the Coburg Hospital would be closed within a few days as it had only 12 patients and they were nearly all convalescent. (Argus, 10 March 1919) As the situation improved, more emergency hospitals closed, although on 12 March, the Argus reported that there had been three deaths in Coburg in the past few days and there were several more in the following weeks.

Slowly life came back to normal. Schools reopened. Public transport again worked to regular timetables and workplaces worked regular hours. Theatres opened their doors once more. Horse racing resumed.

But then the situation worsened again and by early April, more hospital accommodation was needed to cater for new cases in Essendon, Preston, Brunswick and Coburg and the hospital buildings at Broadmeadows Camp were set up to cater for 150 patients to cater in particular for Brunswick cases. The Broadmeadows Hospital opened on 9 April, to the considerable relief of the overcrowded Exhibition Building Hospital. (Argus, 8 April 1919)

Even so, Broadmeadows could not cover the demand for hospital beds and during April the situation grew so bad that the  Coburg High School Influenza Hospital  was re-opened. (Argus, 10 April 1919) In the Argus on 28 April, it was reported that there were 18 patients in hospital at Coburg. By the 1 May issue of the paper, this had risen to 34 patients. By the end of May, Walter Mitchell, Town Clerk, was putting out a call for children’s cots for the juvenile ward of the Coburg Influenza Hospital. (Argus, 30 May 1919)

Finally, in early August, the decision was made to close the hospital and the High School was able to move back in by the end of the month. (Argus, 7 August 1919) All future cases would be dealt with at Broadmeadows.

I’ve now located details of three patients who died at the hospital: 

Gertie Ray, wife of a returned soldier, 14413 Clifford Lawler Ray, an electrician who had served with the Wireless Squadron. They had married in 1918 and now, less than a year later, Gertie was dead.

Michael O’Farrell, brother of 6273 Private James Patrick O’Farrell, 22nd Infantry Battalion, who was a warder at Pentridge Prison and a cyclist who competed in the 1922 Tour de France.

23 year old Doris Ogle, sister of  9130 Gunner Joseph Bernard Ogle of O'Heas St., Coburg, who appears on the Coburg Town Hall Honour Board and was a member of the Coburg Rifle Club. 

If you can tell me any more about these three influenza victims, or about anyone else treated in the hospital at Coburg High School, please contact me.

And if you can tell me any more about Coburg High School’s use as an influenza hospital, I would be very interested in hearing from you.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Spanish influenza epidemic and Coburg Cemetery

Coburg Cemetery gates c.1908. 
Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society

The following servicemen died in the influenza epidemic of 1918/1919 and by arrangement with the military authorities were given an official military burial at Coburg Cemetery. Most of them have no connection to this area.

Died October 1918
4675 Pte William Henry Bullivant
2134 Pte John Burrell
5655 Pte Henry Matson
2893 Sgt R.W. Saunders
5199 Pte Francis Edward Sandie

Died January/February 1919
2913 Pte William Alfred Bushby
5658 Pte Albert Roy Butler
6382 Gnr Kevin McAloon
2536 Pte Wm G. Hefford

Died March/April 1919
2810 Sgt Robert Moore
4790 Pte Thomas F. Donnelly
3755 Cpl Henry Fitzpatrick
1399 Pte Percy Harold Ostler

Died in May/June 1919
2276 Pte Arthur O’Dell Lowes
24420 Driver Christopher M. McKinstry
506 Driver John Sandy

Died in July/August 1919
4559 Sgt Thomas Jones
5450 Pte James Joseph Cleary
367 Cpl Edgar Alfred Bell
3809 Cpl William Robert Fuller
2060 Tpr Athelstane Thomas Rowland
11815 Driver William Ness Law
6286 Pte George John Johnson
Sgt Charles Curtis Dedman (died Sep-Dec 1919)
2536 Pte William G. Hefford

I’m also very interested in learning more about where influenza victims of the time were treated. The soldiers listed above were mostly likely treated in military hospitals, but the Melbourne Hospital and Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital also admitted influenza cases, as did the Alfred and St Vincent’s. One of the more unusual venues was Wirth’s Skating Rink (in the area of the present Arts Centre). The Exhibition Building also became a hospital as did Studley Hall in Kew. Schools closed for the first month of the school year and some schools, such as Coburg High School, became impromptu hospitals.

If you have any information on where influenza victims (civilian and military) were treated, what the treatments were and who was involved, especially in the Coburg area, I would be very interested in hearing from you.

If you have further information on any of these men, please contact Friends of Coburg Cemetery, PO Box 329, Carlton South, Vic, 3053 or email:

Sunday, 2 March 2014

The WW1 Centenary Poppy Tile Project

Thanks to the Empire Called and I Answered blog for drawing attention to this project that might interest you.

The WW1 Centenary Poppy Tile Project is an initiative of the The Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (GMCT), in conjunction with the Returned Services League of Australia (RSL Victorian Branch).

In their press release they say that more than 112,000 Victorians enlisted in WW1 and those who died from causes associated with battle are commemorated by the War Graves Commission.

They say:
Those who returned and then lived out their lives in the community, and are buried in our cemeteries, are not recognised unless their family has recorded this fact in their inscription.  Many graves have been forgotten by families over the years and have become neglected. Younger family members may be unaware that their ancestors served at all unless their family memories and history are strong. 

The aim of this project is to encourage families to ‘renew their links to their family members who enlisted in the Great War and to urge them to place a permanent record of their service on their gravesite.

The GMCT will produce a packed kit including two small glazed white porcelain tiles featuring a red Flanders Poppy. The tiles can be fixed to headstone or cremation niches.

Costings are still being finalised, but the tile kits are expected to retail at around $10.  Any profits will be donated to charity.

You can read more about the project here.